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The Long-Term Viability of Solid-State Storage? Answered

The following is a hypothetical (for now...):
What Is The Long-Term Viability of Solid-State Storage?
So, what does that mean?
Well, I am asking about the viability and chances of data or hardware corruption of solid state storage if left in a relatively clean environment for...say...100 years, would it last?

More specifically, if it were a boot drive, would it still boot?

I am sure some of you will have viable alternatives to solid-state for this purpose I have not considered, which is why I am asking publically.

I am trying to ensure the safety of important data over long-term (100+ years) storage and usage.

Are there any recommendations/issues or alternatives any of you can think of which would decrease the chances of data loss over such a time?

Discussions

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rickharris

3 years ago

You have 2 problems:

1. The longevity of the storage medium.

2. The ability in the future to read the data back to recover it assuming the storage medium survived.

I would print out hard copy on archive acid free paper Store in the dark and dry in a sealed container, a thermos is good. Reading is likely to be around in 100 years However you may need to give the future some kind of Rosetta stone to be sure they can translate it.

Electronic storage is fragile and apt to date form a technology point of view. I have several floppy discs but no way to read the data on them. I have floppy 8 inch and no drive, I have paper tape and no reader, I have huge 12 inch hard drive platters but no reader, Historically I worked on drum drives of up to 500 Mbs !! but the platter was almost 4 feet in diameter (yes it wasn't a drum) - No longer around - equally I have fan fold printer paper but no printer etc etc. All of this has happened in the past 30 years! In 100 who knows, Molecular storage? Atomic storage? Quantum storage?

All these things are just a more techinical way to loose data faster and in larger qualtities.

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Vygerrickharris

Answer 3 years ago

No punch cards? I think I still have a stack of them somewhere.

When the first terabyte drives came out I well remember the discussions about that being a lot of data to lose. The simple fact is that every hard drive will fail, it is only a question of when. People were thinking that they could consolidate all their smaller drives data onto one large terabyte drive. I never liked that idea much. I didn't have that much faith in a drive. To this day I use a mirrored RAID array. I have had one of the array drives fail on many occasions. I also keep a NAS backup of stuff like pictures and documents. I am paranoid about it, but I have had customers who have lost everything because of a hard drive failure.

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rickharrisVyger

Answer 3 years ago

Ah punch cards. The delights of picking them up off the ground1.

I don't really have a serious amount of deadly serious data other than pictures which i back up to the cloud.

My son, an IT specialist, uses a double raid storage system. It's not worth my investment.

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QuadrifoglioVyger

Answer 3 years ago

Would that be 80 column or 96 column? I think I still have a few of each. Under proper storage conditions, they could be a 100 year solution since mine are about 45 years old already. Even further back on the Wayback Machine, Mcbee cards, they were equipment control at an early job.

+100 on RAID, NAS, or any other form of backup. Used to be we could use the “Only floss the teeth you want to keep” analogy but they recently took that one away.

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Josehf Murchison

3 years ago

The long term viability of solid state storage is about 30 seconds.

That is about how fast the storage device is obsolete.

Even in a clean environment stored data in solid state components are a magnetic field that weakens over time.

Right now because of obsolescence we aren't even working on long term storage for the general public, every thing needs to be faster and more data.

When you look at older devices like hard drives the data gets corrupt in under a decade. So 100 years is a pipe dream other than things like records and books, and even books would need a special paper.

There are a few nonprofit projects in deep dark corners of colleges and universities working on storing data in glass and crystals, that is how we got the CD and DVDs but even they get corrupt.

So as for a boot drive it is a flip of a coin how long it will last, most boot drives need a current or it loses its data.

The only proven device that has stored data for 100 years or more and was adapted to every advancement in technology is the phonograph.

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Vyger

3 years ago

When they launched Voyager they included a golden record with all kinds of info cut into the record grooves. At the time it was the best way they had to make a storage medium that was intended to last for thousands of years,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Recor...

Here on earth anything of gold tends to get melted down pretty fast and made into something else.

I think a very big factor in what your talking about is the amount of data. The more condensed and larger the storage the more likely it will get corrupted. Adding compression will save space but then as Quadrifoglio pointed out being able to extract the data in the future would be a problem. The more complicated you make it the more likely it will fail.

Ironically the saying about something being written in stone is probably the most durable in existence. Go and visit an old cemetery and look around. The stones tell the story still. But even they don't last. Some of the ones over 200 years old become so eroded they can't be read anymore.

The one way to preserve data over time that works is the one that still exists. That is demonstrated by the Bible. Over 2000 years old. The method of preservation was simple, make new exact copies of it as the old ones wore out. It was the job of a scribe in Israel to make identical copies of the text. It was part of their religious requirements. They even counted the letters to make sure every page was copied perfectly. But even that ran into trouble because the language changed and evolved over time. It became more difficult for them to understand what was written because ancient Hebrew and common Hebrew diverged into different dialects. Kind of amazing when you think about it. They preserved the words perfectly but the language changed so some of the meaning was lost.

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QuadrifoglioVyger

Answer 3 years ago

Vyger’s narrative includes two key points in archiving; the older data becomes, the higher the chance that it gets buried (information overload) or ceases to have relevance (information obsolescence). The stones still tell the story but try to find a specific one; too many headstones and not enough time. The copies were made but not understood.

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Quadrifoglio

3 years ago

Print it to archival microfilm or paper and provide optimal storage conditions. Eyeballs and optical readers will still be around in 100 years and people will still know how to operate them. In the 1980's I worked on a data recovery project. Although the system had been retired less than a decade earlier, we couldn't find someone that knew how to operate the system. Electronic data recovery could give us the data but not interpret it into anything readable. With the Internet, we might have been able to find someone, but then, no.

Flash forward 20 years and I worked on a project for 100 year archival and retrieval of electronic records. Quality DVDs and archival storage were selected because of information that indicated that the DVD's would last 100 years. The problem was reproducing the data exactly as it was recorded.. Without maintaining a way point system with people that know how to operated it, the exact retrieval would not be possible. I left the company before these types of decisions had to be made. Even the US Government had problems releasing exact data from decades old wire recordings, even with the equipment and people that knew how to run them.

The short version, you may be able to store electronic data for 100 years. The hardware and software to read them will be looooong retired.

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Downunder35m

3 years ago

Since none of our modern storage systems is old enough you can only go with claims from manufacturers.
If you want to be really sure use storage systems proven to work for hundreds of years, like the stone carvings used for ages.